The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC), Mr. Michael Ansah, led a delegation to pay a working visit to Ghana Bauxite Company Ltd. (GBC), in Awaso, in the newly created Western North Region. The delegation comprised of a member of the Board of Directors of GIADEC, Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio, MP, who is also a Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, and members of the GIADEC management team.
The delegation was joined on the visit by the MCE of the Bibiani-Anhwiaso Bekwai Municipal Authority (BABMA), Hon. Alfred Amuah and a representation from the Sefwi Bekwai Police Command, led by Supt. Isaac Baah.
Ghana Bauxite Company has, in recent times, been plagued by industrial unrest involving a section of its workforce, resulting in considerable damage to buildings and other property.
The group was met on arrival by the management of Ghana Bauxite Company, led by Mr. J. K. Fang, the General Manager of GBC Ltd., the Deputy General Manager Mr. Lui Xin, and Mr. Emmanuel Agyapong, the Mine Manager. They conducted the delegation on a tour of the company’s premises to give firsthand experience of the damage caused by the rampaging workers. Substantial damage was caused to the company’s office block with computers and office equipment having been totally damaged. An official residence and company vehicles had also been completely burnt. The delegation then toured the Awaso bauxite mine, which has since resumed operations, albeit partially.
The General Manager informed the delegation that through the intervention of the Omanhene, Nana Kwame Amponsah III, and the District Security Council, (DISEC), together with representatives of the Construction and Building Materials Workers’ Union of TUC, peace has prevailed and the company has resumed mining operations.
Following the tour, the delegation held a roundtable meeting with the Management of GBC, the MCE, the Security Forces, and the GIADEC team. The discussion centered on steps to maintain calm, and implement measures to sustain security for staff and property at the mines, and ensure GBC could return to full operations. Michael Ansah later took the opportunity to thank all stakeholders who had collaborated and supported the process to reach resolution of the dispute.
Mr. Ansah explained the establishment of GIADEC under Act 976 (2018), and the role the Corporation, which now incorporates the Government stake in Ghana Bauxite Company, is expected to play in the Integrated Aluminium Industry. He stressed the importance of the company, workers and the community working together to establish a strong industrial relations base, as well as building an ethos anchored on social responsibility, which will bring benefits to all stakeholders.
With regards to security, Supt. Amuah spoke on behalf of the security forces. He gave the assurance that they had made good progress with their investigations, and some of the perpetrators of the destruction had already been arrested. Security in the Company’s premises has also been ramped up to ensure the safety of staff and their current operations.
Earlier, Mr. Ansah and his team held a separate meeting with representatives of the Construction and Building Materials Workers’ Union of TUC, who had been instrumental in brokering peaceful resolution of the dispute, resulting in a settlement agreed by all parties.
The visit was later climaxed with a courtesy on the Omanhene of Awaso, Nana Kwame Amponsah, who has played in leading role in bringing all parties together around the negotiating table to reach an agreeable settlement. Mr. Ansah expressed gratitude on behalf of the government of His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, for the support of the chief and his elders in ensuring a quick resolution of the industrial dispute. He explained GIADEC’s plan to continue to mine in the Awaso area, and pledged GIADEC’s commitment to ensuring responsible and sustainable development of the Integrated Aluminium Industry, which will ensure development of his area and will be beneficial to all stakeholders and Ghana as a country.
Hon Bento Owusu Bio also thanked the chief, on behalf of the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, for his leadership and direction and the role he played in resolving the dispute. He assured the chief of the Government’s commitment to work to support harmonious relationships at our mines, and help drive development of the community in a sustainable manner, and ensure prosperity for the people of Awaso.
The Omanhene, on his part, traced the history of mining in Awaso since the 1940s. He assured GIADEC of his full support for their operations and the initiatives they are driving to ensure mining progresses and is continued in the Awaso area to the benefit of the community. He also gave the assurance that he would continue to provide support to the activities of Ghana Bauxite Mining Company Ltd. He assured the management of GBC Limited that he will work with the youth in the community to ensure the safety of their staff and operations.